Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dress of the Day - July 16, 2011

Dress of the Day: Yves Saint Laurent (1955). This photo, "Dovima with Elephants" by Richard Avedon, is one of the most famous fashion photos ever taken. This is YSL's first evening dress as Christian Dior's assistant. In 1961, he opened his own fashion house and became a major designer. Among his signatures are the tuxedo for women- Le Smoking, revivals of earlier styles, safari jackets for men and women,  and the beatnik look.
Of interest: Dovima was the first supermodel. In the 1950s, in-demand models made a lot less money than they do today, but she evolved into a celebrity, setting the tone for top models after her.
YSL's dress is very simple, a dramatic, floor-length sash the only adornment on a black column with long sleeves and a notched neckline. The starkness of the black and white and smooth polish of Dovima's porcelain skin contrast with the rough gray skin of the elephants. At the same time, to me the elephants seem playful and active; the woman serene but aloof.
Another time I'll feature fashion photography as it's a fascinating area.

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